In this chapter, you will come to know the planet Earth better. You will understand the importance for our lives of Earth's shape and of the blue sky. You will also have a chance to recognise that the perfect systems you observe are created by Allah only to make our lives liveable.
The Finely-Tuned Balances Of Our Earth
Until the sixteenth century, that is 500 years ago, although some of the Greeks did have an idea about it, people did not generally know that Earth was a planet. Observations made at that time helped people to recognise this. In the 20th century, mankind was sure about the location of Earth in the Solar System. Earth is the third farthest planet from the Sun and the fifth biggest planet.
Scientists believe that Earth has an iron core which has a temperature of 7,500°C (13,500°F). This is even hotter than the surface of the sun. However, because you never feel a bit of this terrible warmth, you can sit in your classroom listening to your teacher or sleep soundly in your bed. Earth's crust insulates us from this heat. Allah is very merciful to us because He has created the Earth's crust on which we live thick enough to prevent the heat getting through it. Moreover, Allah has created a human-friendly atmosphere for us. He has also given plants some features so that they can maintain the oxygen-carbon dioxide balance.
This structure of Earth and other fine balances reveal that Earth is specially designed for mankind to live on.
From its atmosphere to its geography, from its distance from the Sun to all forms of balances, Earth is a special planet created to support life. For example, we may compare our Earth to an aquarium. An aquarium provides the most appropriate conditions for fish. A thermostat maintains the proper temperature of the water, there is a motor for ventilation and sand placed on the bottom. There are special pills to be placed in the water, there is the protective cover of the aquarium, a filter system continually filtering the water, and a continuous food supply… All these support the life of the fish in the aquarium.
However, the fish within the aquarium are unaware of this artificial environment. They assume they live in a "natural" setting or an environment that came into existence spontaneously. They are unaware that someone has supplied the thermostat and adjusted the levels of the water or the functioning of the ventilating motor. They also do not know who provides the food that suddenly appears on the surface of the water. Nevertheless, the source is obvious; the owners of the aquarium provide everything the fish need.
Obviously, life on Earth requires more delicate systems than life in an aquarium.
A person of wisdom does not spend his life in ignorance like fish in an aquarium. He understands that Earth is "ready-made" for him and it has a Creator and a Governor. Without doubt, Allah established these delicate balances and this order that make life possible on Earth. An intelligent person wants to know the Lord Who gives all these blessings to him and to learn what He expects from him. In the Book He has sent us, Allah lets us know Him and informs us about His expectations of us.
No doubt, Allah set up the fine balances and the order making life on Earth possible. Allah tells us about this in the Qur'an:
We placed firmly embedded mountains on the earth, so it would not move under them, and We put broad valleys as roadways in it, so that perhaps they might be guided. We made the sky a preserved and protected roof … (Surat al-Anbiya': 31-32)
Allah designed, balanced, and harmonised every detail on Earth to make it a liveable place for us. Anyone who realises this fact should believe in Allah, see His infinite power and be grateful for everything He has given him.
Now, let's examine some of the balances Allah, our Creator, has created on our planet and witness His infinite Might.
Location of Earth in the Universe
What would happen if our Earth were a little closer to the sun? The answer is obvious because everybody knows that the heat of the Sun is scorching. Indeed, because of this enormous heat, we would neither have the current atmosphere nor the oceans and the seas… The temperature would be so high that the majority of the water on Earth would evaporate. In that case, no water would remain on Earth. Earth would be as dry as a desert.
For example, in an earlier chapter we mentioned that the planet Venus is closer to the Sun than our planet. Therefore, the temperature of Venus is higher than that of Earth. At times, this temperature may rise up to 475°C (885°F). In order to visualise how high this temperature is, just think that when you put some water on the hot-plate, it starts boiling at 100°C (212°F).
Now, let's think of the opposite. What if Earth were farther from the sun? In this case, our Earth would receive less heat. You can imagine that if this were the case, a great part of Earth would freeze and turn to ice. Earth's surface would resemble the dry, icy surface of Mars, which is the planet a little bit farther from the sun than the earth. We can draw a conclusion from these cases: Our Earth is located just at the right place! How do you think this has happened? Could it be a coincidence that our Earth is in exactly the right place? Surely, that cannot be. The Earth is a non-living and unconscious planet. It is unlikely that it could work out the most appropriate place on its own, or settle itself there by coincidence. The fact that Earth is in the most suitable location is a sign of Allah's perfect creation.
The latest astronomical findings have shown the importance of the other planets' existence for Earth. For example, Jupiter's size and position turn out to be critical. As the biggest planet in the system, Jupiter makes the Earth's orbit more stable.
If a planet of such size did not exist where Jupiter is, Earth would be the target of meteors and comets wandering about in space. In short, Jupiter is like a shield protecting Earth. If Jupiter were in some other orbit, our earth, and therefore we would not be around.
A wise person who knows all these things, understands that nothing in this universe is created without purpose. This understanding is described in the Qur'an as follows:
In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are Signs for people with intelligence. (Surah Al 'Imran: 190)
As the verse suggests, we should think over the creation of the heavens and the earth. What you have learned from this book illustrates Allah's creation of the universe. When you reflect on this knowledge, you will have a better comprehension of Allah's power.
Our Earth's Shape In The Qur'an
Dear Children, you know that our Earth is round. Thanks to technological breakthroughs, this fact is also observed in the photographs of Earth taken from space. The Qur'an that Allah sent us 1,400 years ago makes certain statements that led Muslim scientists to understand that the Earth is round.
He created the heavens and the earth with truth. He wraps the night around the day and wraps the day around the night… (Surat az-Zumar: 5)
"Takwir," the word used for "wrapping around" in Arabic, means "to fold something round about as cover". The information provided in the verse about night's wrapping around day and vice versa, (takwir) also stimulates one to think of the world as a globe.
During that period, however, it was extensively believed that the Earth was not round but flat. All scientific computations and explanations were based on this flawed approach. At the period, people were so ignorant about space that some people held the weird belief that the Earth was placed between the horns of an ox.
Dear Children, you have recognized that the information scientists could only attain centuries after the revelation of the Qur'an were hinted at by Allah in the Qur'an a long time ago. This is one of the obvious proofs that the Qur'an is the Word of Allah, the One Who has created the entire universe and Who has knowledge of all things.
The Temperature of Earth
Dear Children, do you know what the average temperature in space is? -270°C (-455°F)! Such a low temperature makes life impossible. The average temperature of our Earth is between 15°C and 20°C (60-70°F). This temperature varies considerably as one rises to the upper layers of the atmosphere.
For instance, the African continent is a hot region. What would you say if we asked you, "Can you make a snowman in Africa?" We already know your answer. Probably most of you will answer: "In order to make a snowman you need some snow. Since it is unlikely to find snow in such a warm region, there is no chance of making a snowman." However, you are wrong, because you can make a snowman in the African continent at any time you like, even though it is known to be extremely warm. To do so, you must climb mount Kilimanjaro, whose peak is the highest point on the contin from the ground, the temperature decreases. The temperature falls to nearly -50°C (-58°F) in the atmospheric layer called the "Stratosphere". Rising further, the weather warms up again. Owing to the protection Allah provides for us, no huge temperature differences exist on Earth.
The maintenance of this temperature range is both related to the amount of heat that the Sun radiates as well as the distance between Earth and the Sun. In the previous chapters, we touched on this topic. We will tackle this issue in detail here. According to calculations, a reduction of just 10 percent in the energy given off by the Sun would result in the Earth's surface being covered by layers of ice many meters thick. Yet if the Sun's energy were to increase a little, all living things would be scorched and die
The speed the Earth spins at also helps keep the temperature distribution in balance. The Earth makes a complete rotation once every 24 hours. For this reason, the alternating periods of daylight and darkness are short. Because they are short, the temperature differences between night and day are quite small.
The importance of this can be seen in the extreme example of Mercury, where a day lasts longer than a year and where the difference between day-time and night-time temperatures is almost 1,000°C (1,800°F).
Geography also helps distribute heat equally over the Earth. There is a difference of about 100°C (212°F) between polar and equatorial regions of Earth. If such a temperature difference were to exist over a completely level area, the result would be wild winds sweeping away everything in their path.
Instead, Earth is full of geographical barriers that block the huge movements of air that such temperature differences would otherwise cause. Those barriers are chains of mountains like the one that stretches from east to west, beginning with the Himalayas in China and continuing with the Taurus mountains in Anatolia and the Alps in Europe.
We have learned how our Earth maintains its temperate, although the temperature in outer space is around -270°C (-455°F). If the temperature of Earth were too cold or too hot, to the extent of becoming a threat to human life, we would simply not be able to survive. Therefore, the moderate temperate level on Earth is Allah's blessing. In return for this blessing, we ought to show gratitude to Allah, Who provides the most beautiful conditions of life for us. This is one of the most important things we need to keep in mind.
How big is Earth and how does Allah protect our Earth against other bodies in space?
In the next section, we will answer these questions...
The Size of Earth And Its Protection from Other Celestial Bodies
As you will remember in earlier sections, we mentioned the varying sizes of planets.
Now let's compare our Earth with other planets with respect to their sizes. Lets start by making the following comparison: Let's imagine that our Earth is a pea. In this case, Mercury could be considered a sesame seed, Venus a pea like our Earth, Mars a watermelon seed, Jupiter an orange, Saturn a tangerine, Uranus and Neptune cherries, and Pluto a sesame seed. These apart, the Sun would be a huge ball bigger than a basketball in comparison to our pea.
Is the size of Earth as compared to other planets "coincidental"? Or, on the other hand, is it deliberate?
When we examine the size of Earth, we can easily see that our planet was designed to be exactly as large as it is.
If Earth were a little smaller, gravitation would weaken and prove too feeble to hold the atmosphere around it. Without the atmosphere, our world would be vulnerable to meteors and harmful radiation from space. In addition, loss of oxygen would mean the end of life. If the Earth were larger, the gravitational pull would increase tremendously, turning the atmosphere into a deadly mixture since it would preserve some poisonous gases.
In addition to its mass, the interior of Earth is also specially designed. The layers of the core move around each other, and this movement is what creates Earth's magnetic field. This magnetic field has a vital role in the preservation of life. Extending far beyond the surface, this field protects Earth from the effects of harmful radiation from outer space.
The blue planet on which we live is a special creation of Allah. In the Qur'an, Allah describes this amazing creation in the 2nd verse of Surat al-Furqan with the words "He created everything and determined it most exactly." It may be that this statement makes it plain, as do many other verses of the Qur'an, that on this planet, Allah provides everything man needs.
Dear Children, from now on we will start exploring Earth. First, let's examine the reason why our Lord created blue oceans and seas and learn the blessings they offer us.
Oceans – Seas
71 percent of Earth's surface is covered with water. Earth is the only planet where water is in its liquid form. Water gathering in giant holes forms the oceans, which are essential for life to exist.
For example, they prevent sudden variations in atmospheric temperature and thus help living things to exist within a stable range of temperatures. They also soften the climates. In addition, oceans shape seashores through erosion and corrosion. On no other planet does there exist such a system.
Moreover, oceans offer a variety of fish and seafood to us. Eating this delicious seafood, swimming in the sea and travelling by boat are all blessings that Allah has given us.
Dear Children, Allah has created everything we need perfectly. Of course, apart from these beautiful things, there are also dangerous things such as the volcanoes that sometimes erupt, although they usually remain silent. Now, we will turn our attention to these volcanoes.
Mountains That Spray Magma
Because the magma, or melted rock, under Earth's crust is in liquid form, it occasionally finds a way out through the cracks on Earth's crust and violently erupts. This scary event is called a volcanic eruption.
Often with a great explosion, the volcano erupts spewing tons of dust and ash into the atmosphere. This eruption forms a giant, dark cloud in the sky. Then magma starts moving over Earth's surface, wiping out the forests and cities it encounters.
The magma flowing from the volcano over the Earth is called "lava". In time, lava cools on the Earth's surface and solidifies, forming rocks. Throughout history, many cities were destroyed because of such disasters. For instance, in the first century CE, sudden volcanic eruptions obliterated the town of Pompeii, then a very prosperous Roman town, from the face of the earth. It was so sudden that people in the town died before they had a chance to escape. The lava rapidly reached the town of Pompeii and covered the whole town, leaving all its residents for dead.
No soul remained alive; the people of Pompeii, who were known for their disobedience to Allah's commands and their immorality, died at once. The inevitable end awaiting these and similar people is described in the Qur'an as follows:
…Against some We sent a sudden squall of stones; some of them were seized by the Great Blast; some We caused the earth to swallow up; and some We drowned… (Surat al-'Ankabut: 40)
Dear Children, these verses indicate that Allah has power over all things and He can destroy everything on Earth whenever He wills. Nobody is safe from His punishment. However, Allah is also very compassionate and merciful to His servants. Throughout this book, we have seen much evidence of Allah's endless compassion. That these volcanic eruptions only occasionally take place is another blessing of Allah if we would only reflect upon it.
Dear Children, do you ever wonder what is happening in the sky when you look up? We believe you are all curious about it. Let us now turn our minds towards the skies!
The layer of air around Earth is called the "atmosphere". The atmosphere is made up of seven layers. Each layer is composed of different gases, all in perfect harmony with one another.
In the Qur'an, Allah mentions that He arranged the heaven into seven heavens:
In two days He determined them as seven heavens… (Surah Fussilat: 12)
The word "heaven" used in many verses in the Qur'an also means "sky". It is also thought to refer to the different depths of space as well as the Earth's sky. If this second meaning of the word is considered, it is stated in the verse that Earth's sky, that is, the atmosphere is made up of 7 layers. Of course, there can be other meanings of the verse, but it is very interesting that when we study the sky, we find that it is composed of seven layers:
- Troposphere: This is the part closest to Earth's surface. The thickness of this layer varies according to the climates. The temperature drops as the altitude increases, and the temperature at the highest altitude is between -51°C (-60°F) and -79°C (-110°F).
- Stratosphere: The layer above the troposphere. The temperature rises as one moves upwards.
- Mesosphere: The layer above the stratosphere. Here, the temperature drops to -73°C (-100°F).
- Thermosphere: This is the layer above the Mesosphere. The temperature rises at a slower rate. The temperature difference between night and day is more than 100°C (212°F).
- Exosphere: The layer that begins at an altitude of 500 kilometres (310 miles) above Earth's surface.
- Ionosphere: Gases in this region are found in ionic form. These ionised gases are what give the layer its name.
- Magnetosphere: Due to the Earth's magnetic field lying in this layer, it is called the Magnetosphere. This layer, which functions like a protective shield, is located between 3,000 and 30,000 kilometres (1,850 and 18,500 miles) above the surface. As we explained before, this region, which protects the Earth against harmful radiation coming from space, is called the Van Allen belt.
To have a better grasp of how important the atmosphere is for us, let's also look at the other planets. For example, let's assume we are on the planet Mercury. There is no atmosphere on this planet. However, an atmosphere is essential for life. So far, we have mentioned the importance of the gases in the atmosphere, such as oxygen, or the protective features of the atmosphere. There is, however, also the weight of the atmosphere, which is fundamental to human life.
The atmosphere is made of light air.
This does not mean that the atmosphere has no weight. Actually, these layers of air kilometres-thick rising above us are very heavy.
According to research, the atmosphere applies tons of weight in pressure on every one of us. This is called "air pressure". Now you may raise the question, "So, why aren't we crushed?" We aren't crushed because our bodies are created with the strength to withstand the weight of the atmosphere. We would no longer function or even exist in an environment with a lower air pressure. That is because, without this pressure, the blood circulating rapidly in our body would exert tremendous pressure on our veins. Unless balanced by atmospheric pressure, our veins would burst due to the high pressure.
Therefore, it is not possible for human beings to live in an environment, such as Mercury's, lacking an atmosphere.
There is an atmosphere on the planet Venus. Because the pressure on Venus is ninety times greater than the pressure of Earth's atmosphere, it does not provide suitable conditions for human life. From this information, we understand that no life can exist on the planet Venus since under its great pressure all living things would be crushed.
Let us go over the points we made earlier: The atmosphere is one of the essentials for life on Earth. The atmosphere has many functions, some of which have been briefly explained above. As you will remember, one of these is the importance of the gases that make up the atmosphere for human life. If the atmosphere did not exist, living things could not breathe, and thus there would be no life on Earth.
Another function of the atmosphere is to protect our Earth against threats from outer space, such as meteors. The atmosphere prevents meteors from falling on Earth and causing harm.
The atmosphere also blocks harmful radiation coming from space. Thanks to the atmosphere, only 7 percent of this harmful radiation reaches Earth. Here is another topic to think over: The radiation that is capable of supporting life on Earth is just the kind of radiation that Earth receives. As you will remember too, the distance of our Earth from the Sun is just right, neither too far away nor too close.
Dear Children, could the atmosphere, which is so critical for our lives, have originated by itself, by chance?
A good analogy showing that this is certainly not a possibility is the following: Think about delicious sweet cakes. What gives these cakes their delicious taste? No doubt, they are so delicious because your mother adds just the right amount of ingredients to the flour, kneads the dough properly and finally bakes it at the right temperature. Would you believe someone who says, "You actually don't need your mother for these delicious cakes; they can cook themselves spontaneously"? Of course, you would find these words nonsense. In this case, could the atmosphere surrounding our Earth have come into existence spontaneously? We already know that this is improbable.
Someone who knows all this would probably say the following when he looks at the sky, "If Allah had not created the atmosphere, it would be impossible to live on Earth." Or, he would think to himself, "Allah is Exalted in power. If our Lord did not protect our Earth, giant meteors would strike Earth and destroy it completely." You can reflect on all the information you learn in a similar way. This is also a way to show your gratitude to Allah.
The Atmosphere's Suitability for Life
Earth's atmosphere is equipped with all kinds of features essential for life. Now, let's describe the special structure of our atmosphere.
Earth's atmosphere consists of 77 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and 1 percent carbon dioxide, argon and other gases. Let us first examine oxygen.
Oxygen is essential for life, since the energy needed for living beings is obtained through chemical processes most of which take place through oxygen. That is why we always need oxygen, and breathe to meet our need for oxygen.
The level of oxygen in the atmosphere is just right for life. If this ratio were 22 percent instead of 21 percent, just one flash of lightning would be enough to burn a whole forest. If this ratio were 25 percent, huge fires would burn the Earth, since oxygen is a flammable gas.
The following question might occur to you: What would happen if all oxygen in the atmosphere were used up? Despite the heavy air pollution of the last century, this hasn't yet become a threat, since more than 80 percent of the oxygen produced on our Earth is generated by microscopic organisms in the oceans. That is, even if all the forests disappeared, there would still be oxygen in the atmosphere.
A perfect system maintains the oxygen content in the atmosphere. This is called the recycling system. Animals and human beings use up oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. Plants, on the other hand, consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. They maintain the continuity of life by turning carbon dioxide into oxygen. Every day, billions of tons of oxygen are produced by plants and released into the atmosphere.
One point deserves special mention here. Why do only plants produce oxygen? Would not life be easier if all living beings produced oxygen?
No, absolutely not! Life would not be easier. On the contrary, if animals and human beings also produced oxygen, the oxygen ratio in the atmosphere would increase so much that the atmosphere would become "flammable" in a short while. Consequently, a tiny spark would cause enormous fires.
On the other hand, if all living beings, including plants, produced carbon dioxide, then the oxygen in the atmosphere would be quickly consumed and living things would start dying of "suffocation" in great numbers, since there would no longer be any oxygen to breathe.
Dear Children, as you see, apart from protecting us, the atmosphere preserves the oxygen we need to breathe. Allah has created many interrelated systems to keep the oxygen level stable. That is, Allah has created many delicate balances. This is very easy for Allah.
Always keep in mind that every breath you take without difficulty is a reason to be grateful to Allah. That is because, if Allah did not so will it, there would be neither atmosphere nor oxygen.
Clouds That Drift
When we look at the sky, we see white or grey clouds that look like lumps of cotton-wool. Sometimes we think they resemble some other objects, don't we? Have you ever thought how clouds come into existence? Now, let's see how.
Every day, the Sun's heat causes water on the Earth's surface to evaporate. This form of water existing in the air is called "water vapour". Air coming closer to the ground grows warm. Warm air rises, and on its way it carries the water vapour to higher altitudes. At high altitudes, the water vapour inside the warm air encounters cool air and thus turns into tiny water droplets and forms clouds.
Water evaporating from oceans rich in salt and lakes with a high mineral content carries these salt particles upward to higher altitudes. These particles of salt are so tiny that they are invisible to the naked eye. Winds that carry these droplets collect 27 million tons of salt in a day in the atmosphere. These salts form the centers of the raindrops-to-be.
Clouds look like cotton-wool from Earth. You may therefore assume that they do not weigh very much. However, when these water crystals turn into rain, you see tons of water falling to the ground. An average rain cloud consists of 300,000 tons of water. (One ton is equal to 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds). 300,000 tons is 300 million kilograms (660 million pounds). If you consider that the weight of an average adult is about 60-70 kilograms (130-150 pounds), you can see how enormous this figure is.) 300,000 tons hangs in the air.
Allah brings down the rain from these giant clouds to revive the Earth. In this way, every corner of Earth receives enough water. In the Qur'an, our Lord informs us how clouds cause rain:
Do you not see that Allah propels the clouds then makes them coalesce then heaps them up, and then you see the rain come pouring out of the middle of them… (Surat an-Nur: 43)
Besides that, Allah draws our attention to the purity of the water He sends down from the sky:
… And We send down from heaven pure water. (Surat al-Furqan: 48)
As the verse above suggests, rain falls on the ground pure and clean. It includes a very small amount of salt and minerals. This is surely a blessing of Allah, since soil receives the salt and minerals it needs from rainwater. If the water evaporating from the oceans contained a high ratio of salt, when it fell on land in the form of rain this would be very harmful to life on our planet. If rainwater were very salty, it would wither the soil and plants away, which would result in the death of all living things. In brief, life on Earth would soon come to an end. However, this never happens, because Allah has great compassion for people. This we are informed in the Qur'an:
Have you thought about the water that you drink? Is it you who sent it down from the clouds or are We the Sender? If We wished We could have made it salty, so will you not give thanks? (Surat al-Waqi'a: 68-70)
The explanation in the verse above makes it clear that Allah specially created everything on Earth suitable for human life.
Dear Children, as you have seen, we have no power over anything we need for our lives. Unless Allah willed it, we could not live on Earth. For this reason, at every moment we should remember that Allah is the Creator of everything and we should always thank Him.
We have learned how water on Earth evaporates, how clouds form and turn into rain. Now, how about learning how rain falls on Earth in due measure?
Measure Of The Rain
Rain falls down to Earth in a certain measure. This measure has only been worked out by contemporary research. Computations reveal that 16 million tons of water evaporate every second. In a year, this amounts to 505 trillion tons. Again, each year, 505 trillion tons of rain fall on Earth's surface. As it turns out, this amount is the same from one year to another. This fact, which has recently been discovered by scientists, is reflected in the Qur'an, which was revealed 1,400 years ago:
It is He Who sends down water in due measure from the sky … (Surat az-Zukhruf: 11)
Dear Children! It is very fascinating that Allah refers to an exact measure, or amount, in which He sends down water from the sky, as is the discovery that the amount falling every year is constant. Here, the parallel is very striking.
The evaporation and condensation of equal amounts of water mentioned above, that is the "water cycle," maintains the continuity of life on Earth. Maintaining this measure artificially would be impossible, even if all contemporary technological means were put to use.
A minor change in the water cycle would cause great instability in nature in a very short time, which would ultimately mean the end of life. However, that never happens; Earth's surface always receives the same amount of rainfall. Allah "sends down water in due measure…"
You must by now have understood that Allah holds the measure of rainfall under His control. Otherwise, how could it be possible that the same amount of rain falls on Earth each year? This is improbable. Allah is the Lord of the entire universe, and everything happens by His will.
Now we will turn our attention to a very interesting topic, the rainbow.
The Colourful Rainbow
You must have seen a rainbow at least once in your life. If not, you have probably seen a picture of one in a book or on television. The sight of a rainbow is quite astonishing, since its colours and shape are enchanting. Have you ever wondered how this colourful arc comes into existence? If you haven't, let us tell you.
A rainbow sometimes appears when the Sun comes out after rain. It is an arc of seven colours lined up one after another. The rainbow looks like a crown and has a very impressive appearance.
A rainbow is actually a trick of the light. It consists of the basic colours of sunlight. Indeed, the white rays of the Sun are actually multi-coloured. These colours coming from the Sun are called the spectrum. The basic colours of the spectrum are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The white of sunlight is formed when these colours are combined. Once sunlight passes through a drop of rain, the colours that make it up appear. That is because water refracts, or separates the colours of, light. These separate colours pass through the raindrop and refract out at different angles.
Does this seem complicated? If you think it is, find a crystal glass and flash a strong light through it. Here, the glass assumes the role of the raindrop. You will see that when the glass is exposed to a strong light, a small rainbow appears on the wall.
While talking about rainbows, we always see them as semicircular. However, this is not true, since the rainbow is actually a circle. However, it is not possible to observe all of this circle from the ground. Therefore, we always see the rainbow as semicircular. Only from an aeroplane could we see the rainbow as a circle.
The centre of the rainbow's circle is always a point exactly opposite the Sun. When the Sun rises higher, the rainbow also moves higher to remain at the level of the Sun.
Our Lord creates this colourful and enchanting sight of a rainbow especially so that we can take pleasure from the beauties of Earth, and reflect on His power and attributes. Allah has the power to create an infinite number of beautiful things. Therefore, this does not surprise us but makes us appreciate Allah better and be more grateful to Him.
Now we will focus our attention on another astonishing splendour. This time, we will examine a small celestial object, the moon that astonishes us with its beauty at night.
The Moon That Illuminates Our Nights
The moon resembles an enormous stone ball that spins around our Earth. At night, in a cloudless sky, the moon shines brilliantly in the pitch-black. However, the Moon is not a real source of light. Just like a mirror, it reflects the light of the Sun. This feature of the moon is referred to in the Qur'an:
Blessed be He who placed constellations in the sky and put a blazing lamp and shining moon among them. (Surat al-Furqan: 61)
We always see the same side of the Moon since it rotates both around itself and around the Earth every twenty-nine days. Since the period of rotation in both cases is the same, we always see the same face of the Moon.
When we look at the sky at night, the moon sometimes appears as a circle and sometimes as a semicircle. As the Moon rotates around Earth, its illuminated face takes different shapes.
Earth and the Moon attract one another, but the gravitational force of Earth is six times greater than that of the Moon. Despite this, the gravitation of the Moon influences Earth and causes "lunar tides" in the oceans and seas. A regular variation occurs in the surface level of the oceans. If the gravitational attraction of the Moon were stronger, the tides would cause water levels to rise and fall considerably. Under such circumstances, regions near the oceans and seas would be flooded regularly.
However, during tides, water usually rises to a moderate level because our Lord has "fine-tuned" the gravitational forces of the Moon and Earth so as to protect us from disaster.
Night–Day and The Seasons
During its rotation on its axis, our Earth is slightly inclined from its orbit. This is what causes the formation of the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.
If Allah willed, however, our Earth would stand straight upright to its orbit. Then there would be no seasons. The temperature would be the same all over Earth. From the food we eat to the air we breathe, our lifestyles and environment would be completely different.
Dear Children, have you ever wondered how night and day come into existence? Space is completely dark. However, on our Earth, which is also in space, there is an alteration between night and day. In the morning, we wake up to sunshine but when night falls, it becomes dark. Well, how do you think our Earth becomes bright in the morning?
As our Earth moves along its orbit, it also turns around itself like a spinning top. As Earth revolves around itself, the side facing the Sun becomes light.
Unlike our planet, Uranus rotates on its side, as if the planet has fallen over. This causes the planet to roll around the Sun in its orbit like a barrel. The equator of Uranus is tilted at 98° with respect to its orbit, so that each pole is almost facing the Sun during part of each orbit. It takes Uranus 84 earth years to orbit the sun! Therefore, for years at a time, each of the poles receives either continuous sunlight or is continuously in shadow.
What would happen if it were always daytime on one side of Earth and night on the other? If this were the case, people would not have specific times for sleep. Everyone would sleep or be awake at different times. There would be much confusion in relationships between people.
Let's first imagine that we only had daytime: Would we be able to sleep soundly? Besides, we would never be able to see the moon and stars that are visible only in the darkness of the night.
Alternatively, what if we were always in darkness? First, we would never be able to see the Sun, blue skies or other beauties we can only see during the day. No one knows how our sleeping hours or schedule at school would be. We would go to school in the darkness of the night and have our breaks in darkness.
What is more important is that plants that need both night and day to live would quickly disappear. Eventually this would mean the end of life.
However, Our Lord has created night and day to make our lives easy. By creating night and day, He has put our lives into order. The reasons for the creation of night and day are stated in the Qur'an as follows:
It is He who made the night a cloak for you and sleep a rest, and He made the day a time for rising. (Surat al-Furqan: 47)
Consider that every day new discoveries and inventions are being made. However, none of these are unprecedented; that is, they are all inspired by things and beings already existing in nature. Which one of these inventions could make Earth rotate around itself and thus cause night and day? None of them, right? Only Our Lord, the Creator of the heavens, the earth and everything in between could accomplish this.
Always keep in mind that just as Allah has created the night and day, He could well remove them. Then our lives would be in turmoil. Furthermore, we would not be around to read these lines. In the Qur'an, Allah informs us that if He wills He could well lengthen the night or day:
… If Allah made it permanent night for you till the Day of Rising, what god is there other than Allah to bring you light? … (Surat al-Qasas: 71)
… If Allah made it permanent day for you till the Day of Rising, what god is there other than Allah to bring you night to rest in? (Surat al-Qasas: 72)
These verses make it clear that neither night nor day could have come into existence without Allah's will. This universe and everything in it belongs to Allah, the Creator.
Dear Children; never forget that Allah the All-Mighty has perfectly created you and everything you know and can imagine.